Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lady Mary Primrose's Favorite



This is a folktune named after Lady Mary Shepherd, the philosopher, although, of course, it comes from her maiden name of Lady Mary Primrose, and so is called "Lady Mary Primrose" or "Lady Mary Primrose's Favorite." There are a number of variations under other names, most notably "Miss Joan Kier," but the association with Lady Mary seems to be due to the great folklorist, Nathaniel Gow, because the first time it appears under Lady Mary Primrose's name seems to be in his magisterial collection of folktunes, starting about 1800. Primrose became Shepherd in 1808, and Lady Mary was born in 1777, although I think almost in 1778, so it would have had her name attached to it when she was around twenty. As far as I know, we have no idea why Gow gave it this name, except that, apparently, it needed a name and was Lady Mary's favorite.

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